One of the benefits of spending more time in the ice arena as a spectator is that I have been fortunate enough to experience things I almost certainly would have been oblivious too a few years ago. Not long ago I watched Olympic speed skater, Shani Davis competing at The Pettit National Ice Arena. This weekend was equally as exciting!
Alyssa had hockey practice Sunday morning and her son Andy and I were able to enjoy the hockey sparring for some time. However, I know all too well that watching hockey practice with a four-year old boy requires the need of certain snacks and refreshments after perhaps…. five minutes into the event… A quick trip to the refreshment stand solved that problem very promptly and after wandering around with popcorn and soda in hand, we made our way over to the Resch Olympic Pavillion while mom was working on her backwards skating puck handling skills in the adjacent arena. To our surprise, Andy and I found ourselves smack in the middle of the USA National Curling Championships! Many of these competitors will be comprising the USA Olympic Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!
Knowing absolutely nothing about the sport having only watched it in passing during past Olympics and forgetting everything I once knew from the quick TV commentator version of the rules, I found myself embarrassed trying to explain the strategy to a 4-year old boy while we literally stood right next to one of the officials who almost certainly heard my explanation. It went something like this….. “There are four people on a curling team…… a Chaser, two Beaters and a Keeper. The Chaser takes that big round thing on the floor which is called a Bludger and slides it down the ice. The two Beaters take their special broomsticks and rub the ice real hard and fast trying to force the Bludger into the hoops towards the spot the other team member, the Keeper, indicates all in hopes of scoring a Quaffle.” Andy was completely impressed and we spent the rest of the morning watching this high energy competition unfold without even one athlete breaking a bone!
|Let the Games Begin! Andy has his popcorn!|
|Yellow Bludgers seemed to be preferred over the red ones….|
|A Bludger is perfectly delivered by the Chaser as two Beaters prepare for action!|
|“SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!”, the Chaser yells!|
|A well placed Bludger by a perfectly balanced Chaser. Quaffle!!!!!|
|Beaters scrubbing the ice fast and furious! This is intense!|
|At this point, I think the obsession with Thomas the Engine was playing itself out….|
|A thrilled 4-year old watching history unfold right behind him!|
|The Keeper telling the Beaters where to place the red Bludger.|